Bernard H. Carson, whose “Carson Speed” formula defines the speed at which an airplane maximizes speed and minimizes fuel consumption, died Feb. 15 at Annapolis, Maryland. He was 75.
Dr. Carson was a professor of aerospace engineering at the U.S. Naval Academy for 31 years, educating generations of Naval Aviators. He was instrumental in building laboratories to support his students and their research, and often was found testing wing and propeller designs in the Academy’s wind tunnel. With several colleagues, he bought a light plane which served midshipmen as a flying laboratory.
Dr. Carson’s best-known research developed the “Carson Speed” formula, which became a standard benchmark for evaluating a variety of aircraft and is used widely in the designing of fuel-efficient airplanes. It is the basis for an annual competition.
After his graduation from Pennsylvania State University in 1955 he joined the U.S. Air Force, flying C-124 Globemaster heavy transports around the world. He later returned to Penn State for a master’s degree and then a doctorate in aeronautical engineering. Following a post-doctoral fellowship he was appointed to the Naval Academy faculty in 1966. He was a fascinated student of lighter-than-air vehicles and inventor of several prototype heavy-lift aircraft for military and civil applications. He was an avid builder of model airplanes and an enthusiastic general aviation pilot.